Vacuum Tubes Are Alive And Well on Planet Earth

There is a lot of talk about the old days and vacuum tubes. It would seem that some hams think there is no place for the vacuum tube. It was recently that I was talking to my grandson, a radio technician in the U. S. Navy, and I asked him about the high  power transmitters and he told me that they all had tube finals.

Collins 30L-1 Linear Amplifier

Looking through amplifiers to boost the power output from a transmitter or transceiver I was not able to find any solid state amplifiers above 400 watts. I am not saying there aren’t any and I did not do an exhaustive research but I did look at several sites, thumbed through QST and saw several amplifiers.  So most modern amateur radio stations running 500 watts or more are using one or more vacuum tubes.

The vacuum tube is a simple device but I think they might make an interesting subject because for one there are still a lot in use in ham radio, whether in vintage equipment or power amplifiers. Reason number two there are a lot of new hams today who have had no experience with vacuum tubes and would just find them interesting. And finally reason number three is vacuum tube amplifiers are easy to understand and thus they make it easier for wanting to understand amplification and oscillation to learn the vacuum tube version first then the solid state will be much easier to comprehend.

So I have decided to do a series on the vacuum tube over the next few days.


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